ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Sunday took a practical step towards ensuring smooth working of the parliament and the overall democratic system when a delegation of the party held meetings with National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and leaders of other opposition parties.
The delegation comprised former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Pervez Khattak, PTI nominee for NA speaker slot Asad Qaisar, and MNAs-elect including Omer Ayub Khan, Shafqat Mehmood and Fawad Chaudhry.
In their meeting with the NA speaker at his residence, the PTI team exchanged views with him over the maiden session of national assembly and election of the new speaker and deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament.
They also discussed matters related to opposition’s reservations regarding the general election held on July 25, and PTI leaders assured Ayaz of their full cooperation in resolving all the issues amicably.
The delegation also called on PPP’s Syed Khursheed Shah, former NA speaker Fehmida Mirza, MQM’s Farooq Sattar and BNP-Mengal’s Sardar Akhtar Mengal separately.
PTI leaders sought their support for strengthening of the democratic system and invited them to attend the prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony scheduled for August 18.
The meetings were held a day before the National Assembly’s maiden session in which the parliamentarians would take oath.
The provincial assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan will also have their inaugural sessions today, while the session of Punjab Assembly will start on Aug 15.
Interestingly, in their meeting with Khursheed Shah, the PTI leaders not only sought his cooperation for smooth conduct of parliamentary affairs but also his party’s support for Imran Khan in the election of the prime minister.
Talking to media after the meeting with Ayaz, PTI Spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said that his party considers relationship with the PML-N and other opposition parties important and purpose of their meetings was to take them into confidence over the issues related to the national assembly.
He said it was vision of PTI Chairman Imran Khan to take along the opposition on national issues and therefore he had directed them to contact all political leaders and convince them to work with the PTI for development of the country.
The spokesman said that Imran Khan was pursuing the agenda of Pakistan and committed to take the country on road of progress and development.
“Khan will [therefore also] address reservations of all political parties regarding alleged rigging in the election” as he had promised in his post-victory speech, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Ayaz Sadiq said that the PTI delegation offered to discuss issues related to the recently-held general election. He said that the PTI delegation also brought invitation to the oath-taking ceremony of the Imran Khan as the new premier of the country.
Asad Qaisar said that his party wanted to take the opposition into confidence and to develop a working relationship with them. PTI speaker-designate said that his party wanted to run the government and parliament a smooth way, in consultation with the opposition leaders.
The country was presently facing security, economic and other challenges and joint efforts of all political parties were required to tackle these challenges. “We want to focus on education, security economy and health,” he added.
Outgoing NA Speaker Sadiq, who will be administering oath to the newly-elected MNAs in today’s session, said that the ceremony would take place in accordance with the law and constitution.
Fawad Chaudhry in his media talk also said the incoming government would have a strong opposition in the parliament and therefore it was necessary to work together to get meaningful results in the larger national interest.
The spokesman said that opposition and the government were two wheels in the Parliament and PTI would take along all the opposition parties to make the parliament more effective to address the issues of the masses. “We need unity to overcome challenges facing the country,” he remarked.
The system will not move ahead if parties would not work together, Fawad said and appreciated decision of major parties to become part of the Parliament. “The decision of Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and others to come to the Parliament is a good gesture.”
“We want cooperation of the opposition parties. We have invited Shehbaz Sharif, Syed Khursheed Shah, Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for the oath taking ceremony,” he said.
He said that PPPP leadership had been requested to vote for PTI speaker candidate. “We are hopeful for their cooperation in this regard,” he added.
NA session schedule
Inaugural session of the National Assembly will be held today in Parliament House in which the newly-elected members will take oath.
The outgoing speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq will administer the oath of office to the MNAs-elect.
Election of the speaker and deputy speaker as well as Leader of the House would also take place during the session beginning from Monday.
According to the NA secretariat, on first day, the members will take oaths and sign the roll.
On Tuesday, nomination papers for the election of the speaker and the deputy speaker would be accepted till 12 pm.
Election of the speaker and deputy speaker NA would be held on Wednesday through secret ballot while election of the prime minister would be held through division of the members of the House.
PTI, which emerged as the largest political party in July 25 elections, has nominated its chief Imran Khan for the slot of the leader of the House whilst PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has been fielded as a joint candidate for the slot by the opposition parties.
In addition, the PTI has nominated Asad Qaiser for the office of the National Assembly speaker whereas the opposition has nominated Khurshid Shah for the position.
The NA Secretariat has made special arrangements for preliminary session of the House. According to police officials, security has been put on high alert in the capital and drone cameras have been banned during the session in the Red Zone.
Agencies add: Talking to a private TV channel, Fawad said all the policies of Imran Khan would be based on the ideology of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the best interest of Pakistan.
Imran Khan after becoming the prime minister would fulfil all the promises and pledges he had made to the nation during the election campaign, he said.
Being the prime minister, he said, Imran Khan would not tolerate corruption of even a single penny. Not a single incident of corruption was reported against the last PTI government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was a great achievement for the party, he added.
He said PTI leader Jahangir Tareen had declared all his assets and his case was totally different from that of Nawaz Sharif.
Fawad said Imran Khan was holding consultations to amend the accountability laws. The opposition parties would be taken on-board on all the national issues, he added.
He said China was the all weather friend. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be completed, however, changes could be made in its projects with the consensus of two countries, he added.
Talking to a news channel, Asad Qaiser said legislation to eradicate menace of corruption from the country would be the top priority of the new PTI government.
He said that measures would be taken to provide better facilities to the people in education, health sectors besides providing job opportunities to the youth of the country.
He said that rule of law was imperative for development and to move the country ahead.
Asad Qaiser said for the betterment of the country, the PTI government would take the opposition parties on-board on matters of national importance and consensus would be developed among all stake-holders.